By Nishtha Relan:
Sex. You see how riveting, how deliciously teasing and exciting sex is; as a topic of discussion, as an activity (an understatement, really. *grins*), as a taboo, and as an exaggerated mountain of a hype? But it really is another one of our basic physical, hormonal needs! And obviously, we, at this age, do not want to bear the consequences of unwanted pregnancy, which could be anything from unwelcome to disastrous. I am not a medical expert here, but oh well. The standard protective measure of a condom may not be liked by all, though it is doubly effective, or it may not be available for use at all times, which leads women to use regular or emergency contraceptive very often. The hush of the tainted image of sex has often been broken by several contraceptive products with loud advertisements, and of them all, i-Pill happens to be one of the most popular products for women in India. Delve into it, shall we?
So, whether a couple has had a steamy session of unprotected sex, or has encountered an accident like the condom tear; whether the woman has forgotten to take her birth control pill in the morning or has been a victim of a bad incident of forced sex, the ‘morning-after pills’, as they are often called, are very convenient and efficient way out of the anxiety, tension and guilt of a possible pregnancy. A commonly know example, i-Pill from Cipla, is a combined emergency contraceptive to be taken within 72 hours of vaginal penetration. It contains common female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, which prevent pregnancy in the first place by disabling the attachment of the fertilised egg to the womb. Okay, coming back to the facts that we really need to know, it is best taken as soon as possible after intercourse. It is an over-the-counter drug, easily available at the chemists without prescription. So yes, the advertisements with the night gown clad friend-in-need-cum-counselor did have some measure of truth in them.
It sounds so easy to use, doesn’t it? Just pop a pill and you’re all set. However, we know that anything that messes with our hormones for a quick measure wouldn’t be all that safe. The myths must have had a ground. There are, obviously, certain things to be kept in mind. I-Pill is a back up plan, an emergency contraceptive. It can not replace the regular contraceptive pills. It is preferably for usage by women of age group 25 to 40, and doesn’t come without side-effects. Some short term annoying symptoms may be nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and even breast sensitivity, and they don’t last longer than a few days. However, dependence on such an option isn’t viable. Its long tern usage can cause irregular menstrual cycles, and according to ISARC researchers, it can reduce sexual appetite and lead to skin allergies as well. Tssk.
Not meaning to scare the female readers, the effects do sound bad, but keeping in mind that it is only a contingency plan, the i-Pill is a much safer option than ending up with a baby growing in your belly when you are absolutely not ready, or going through the stress and guilt of an abortion. Also, everybody reacts to the medicines differently. This wasn’t meant to be biology lecture, or an agony aunt column, but something most of us growing up with raging hormones might find useful. A proper sex education would have been a wonderful way to make us comfortable with our sex life, but let’s not expect too much from this culture. We could help ourselves, though. And a thorough understanding, wise sexual partner and proper, thought-out safety measures (read condoms, they work against STDs too) could really ease out the unwanted stress and leave us satisfied, if you know what I mean. *winks*